Over the Influence

In Over the Influence: Why Social Media is Toxic for Women and Girls – And How We Can Take It Back, communication professor and CNN Opinion contributor Kara Alaimo demonstrates how social media affects every aspect of the lives of women, girls and nonbinary people —from our relationships and our parenting to our physical and mental wellbeing.

Over the Influence is a book about what it means to live in the world social media has wrought – whether you’re constantly connected or have deleted your accounts forever. Alaimo shows why you’re likely to get fewer followers if you’re a woman. She demonstrates how fake news is crafted to prey on women’s vulnerabilities. She reveals why so much of the content we find in our feeds is specifically designed to hold us back. And she explains how social media has made the offline world a far uglier place for women. But we can change this and reclaim the Internet to empower ourselves. Alaimo offers up brilliant advice for how to get over the influence—how to handle our daughters’ use of social media, use dating apps to find who we’re looking for, use social networks to bolster our careers, and protect ourselves from sextortionists, catfishers and trolls. She also explains what we need to demand from lawmakers and tech companies in order to solve these problems.

Over the Influence calls on women to recognize and call out the subtle (and not-so-subtle) sexism and misogyny we find online, reject misinformation that is targeted to us because of our gender, and use our social platforms to empower ourselves and other women. It was published on March 5, 2024.

Praise for Over the Influence:
“A clarion call for thoughtfulness and action on a vital issue facing girls and women, Kara Alaimo’s Over the Influence is a captivating must-read for anyone who cares about misogyny, the internet, and the confluence between them. It is also indispensable, impeccably researched, and eye-opening reading for any parent navigating social media with their children—which is to say, all of us.”
—Kate Manne, author of Entitled: How Male Privilege Hurts Women and Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny

“Social media promised us a better, more connected, more empathetic world. Instead, it’s brought insecurity, humiliation, sexualization, and sometimes even violence—at least to women and girls. That’s the case Kara Alaimo makes in her important book, which everyone who has ever downloaded a social media app, or who cares about the future of society, should read.”
—Jill Filipovic, author of The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness

Over the Influence is the ultimate guide for any mom seeking to help her daughters—and herself—more safely navigate an internet that is stacked against women. I’ll be recommending it to all the parents in my life.”
—Nina Jankowicz, author of How to Be a Woman Online: Surviving Abuse and Harassment, and How to Fight Back

“As I read the stories of the women in Over The Influence, I found myself nodding along because I’ve been there, while taking notes on how I can set new boundaries and protect my privacy—and the privacy of young girls in my life—to ensure we’re all protected and live our fullest lives on the internet. An essential guide for anyone who uses the internet and cares about other people—so, everyone!”
— Renee Bracey Sherman, founder and co-executive director of We Testify

“Over the Influence both showcases the dangerous realities and consequences of the modern cyber world and also silverlines it with what a humane social media culture could look like. Kara Alaimo keeps it real— journalistically showing us the innards of real online experiences by real girls and women… Over the Influence is a protest against today’s online reality and a call to arms for what tomorrow’s ought to look like. It’s a book for everybody with an internet connection.”
— Carrie Goldberg, leading victims’ rights attorney and author of Nobody’s Victim: Fighting Psychos, Stalkers, Pervs, and Trolls

“Over the Influence by Kara Alaimo is a powerful and timely exploration of the pervasive toxicity of social media, offering important insights into its impact on relationships, well-being, and body image. This book serves as a rallying cry to empower and guide women towards reclaiming the Internet and advocating for a dramatic and overdue change in the digital landscape.”
-Rana Awdish, MD, author of the bestselling In Shock, My Journey from Death to Recovery and the Redemptive Power of Hope

“A trove of insight into how social-media has dialed up the vitriol belittling girls’ looks and behavior and eroded their sense of safety while siphoning off energy women would rather spend pursuing their real potential. Every parent: read this book to know what you’re up against. Grab copies for your daughters and friends. Together, armed with Kara’s powerful reporting, we can reverse today’s digital backlash against women and create a narrative that serves us.”
– Donna Jackson Nakazawa, author of Girls on the Brink

“A searing indictment of the capitalist, racist, and misogynistic overtones of social media, Alaimo’s book calls on us to demand more from these platforms and to create new norms for ourselves and generations to come in relation to building and sustaining community and creating change — online and off.”
-Senti Sojwal, cofounder of the Asian American Feminist Collective

Buy the Book

Click here to order the Penguin Random House audio book from Libro.fm.

To pre-order an autographed copy of the book from Labyrinth Books in Princeton, NJ, email orders.labyrinth@gmail.com.